by Corinne Carmela Sansalone
Milkboy was an exciting venue to be at this past Friday evening with a compelling line up featuring Paper Kites. The opening act, Old Man Canyon, built up stirring expectations as some of their songs have been featured in television shows such as the Showtime series Shameless and the MTV series Awkward. Their alternative sound is unique and the band members are not only gifted artists, but of self-less character as well. The headlining band, Paper Kites, gave a shout-out to their supporting band, describing their raw talent and how they helped unload their equipment as just one example of how straightforwardly nice they are. Likeability must be infectious because Paper Kites themselves were down to earth, genuine people as well. The evening proved to live up to the built up anticipation.
Paper Kites first formed in 2010 when Sam Bentley and Christina Lacy, the two pioneer members, wrote music in high school. It wasn’t until their performance at a music festival in their local town of Melbourne, Australia that their musical family grew, acquiring Sam Rasmussen, David Powys and Josh Bentley. They have come a long way since playing for local venues in their hometown and their success has flourished in just a few short years.
As the band began to play, their symphony gradually harmonized the atmosphere of Milkboy. What could once be described as ‘dim lighting’, felt like a calming glow, what could once be described as a ‘crammed domain’ became just a resilient gathering and everything seemed modestly fitting. As Powys strapped on his banjo in preparation for their forth song, “Bloom”, an abrupt wave of phones streamed from the stage to the back of the room. Glancing from side to side, my anticipation grew as my gut told me this song was going to be “the one”. That one song that, regardless of knowledge of a band or even genre, could have you hooked on a sound. As someone whose exposure to indie rock is merely based on her years in middle school listening to Pink Floyd, this song immersed me into the whole evening. I felt faint vibrations as the pulses of feet tapped to the whistling in the song. The girl next to me made complete use of her limited space; her enthusiastic rocking spread through my feet and shoulders as well and swaying bodies synchronized.
Each song that followed was distinctly crafted and added to the pleasurable Friday feels. Their sound varied with mellow vocals, up-beat harmonica, banjo and that there seemed to be something in store for everyone. Sam Bentley gave an introduction to their seventh song, asking the audience to quiet down and resist the urge to pull out their phones for “Paint“. If retold out of context, the background story of this song would approximate to a harrowing break-up. However, Bentley’s whit made it enjoyable, funny and felt like an old friend was filling me in on his life. I was slightly expecting to hear some hurtful lyrics tied into a sorrowful melody, but this was not the case. The words were relatable yet still freshly insightful and the sound was appeasing, as was many of their songs performed that evening. Bentley’s goal was achieved and for the most part the entire venue was quiet except for the whispered, uncontrollable sing-alongs.
Before signing off, I would like to thank Milkboy for a more than enjoyable evening. The staff was friendly and the atmosphere provided that rustic charm you long for when out for a night in Philly. It was very cool to see an up-and-coming band such as Old Man Canyon, and it was easy to see the reasoning behind their popularity. As for Paper Kites, you have gained yet another follower.